The guide to creativity

 ”A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”

- Abraham Maslow

I’ve found that passionate work comes down to one action: creating things.

To building things using your talents, strengths, passions and interests, to help the world in some way.

But in a world of instant notifications, distractions and people constantly asking for our time, we lose sight of what matters. It all comes back to creating things. That is what makes the world better. It always has and it always will. The tools will change, but the essence of creativity never will.

We are all artists. Some of us just haven’t recognized it yet.

May this be a rallying cry to find the inventor in all of us…

The Creator’s Manifesto:

create |krēˈāt|- verb : Bring (something) into existence. Cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions.

  1. Build things that only you are capable building.
  2. Don’t take inspiration for granted. When it hits, stop everything to capture and create.
  3. Learn what inspires you – the people, the movies, the music, the books. Then spend every second you can around them.
  4. Ideas appear in the strangest places. Pay attention.
  5. Creation comes in every form – relationships, food, art, music, prose, products, services. Notice what you create. What people ask you for. Give that all your energy.
  6. Know your limitations. Build what you’re best at. Leave the rest for others.
  7. There are so many ways you can spend a day, but making new things and adding real value are the only ones that really make a difference.
  8. Stop wasting your time.
  9. Sitting still is the most dangerous action of all.
  10. Welcome the skeptics. Build it anyway.
  11. Creativity comes natural or it must be learned. Either way you’re on the hook to build something that matters.
  12. The sooner you can create, the better.
  13. Every screwup gets you closer to your masterpiece. Make mistakes as often as you can. Start falling.
  14. Everything is progress, as long as you’re doing something to build upon yesterday’s art.
  15. If those around you are killing your creativity then change whom you choose to hang around.
  16. Constantly ask: How can I make what already exists even better? What are other people not doing?
  17. Embrace the process. Forget about the end result. You never get there anyway. Find comfort in knowing that the process is all there is.
  18. The goal is not to build what you think people will buy. It’s to build what you feel you must, and help people so much they want to pay you for it.
  19. When it doubt, make something. Anything. That’s always the next step.
  20. It starts with a single word. A sketch. A conversation. An idea. A tune. A note.
  21. Stop worrying so much about what others think. They don’t do it that much anyway. Do what feels right.
  22. Ask how. Ask why. Ask why not.
  23. Things don’t get created while on Twitter, Facebook or when nose-deep in emails. They happen out of the office, away from the Internet, out experiencing the world – be it a crowded bus or an empty field across the world. Get. Out. There.
  24. Don’t let a day pass without creating something new. No matter how small.
  25. Start each morning pursuing an idea.
  26. Do less reading and more creating.
  27. You have something in you worth building. We all do. Put your head down to make it come to life. We will thank you for it.

[update: here's a little more visually fun version for you all - enjoy!]

The creators manifesto

We have so much more inside us than we give ourselves credit for.

You can lay bricks or build a cathedral.

Stop holding back.

-Scott

Fired up? Share the inspiration with those who need it.

—–

image courtesy of Garrett Gill


Leave a Reply

57 Responses to “The Creator’s Manifesto”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with all of it! We really are capable of so much, and so many people just accept “average” as “good enough.”

    Why be good enough, when we can be amazing? Each of us, in our unique way.

    Thank you for sharing this list, Scott. Your posts, as always are inspiring.

  2. Ryepez says:

    I find and other greate manifesto
    From Seth Godin
    This is the link
    http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/docs/bootstrap.pdf

  3. Hey Scott, great post. I always love to be kicked in the pants about taking action. Its no joke that the birth or creation never happens during complacency. I appreciate the inspiration.

  4. CEZAR says:

    What a great list! We’re all creators.. I love this one the best “Don’t let a day pass without creating something new. No matter how small.” A huge challenge, but definitely worth pursuing on a daily basis. I’m adding that to my to do list.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Cezar

  5. Izzy says:

    A very powerful list Scott. In particular “Number 4: Ideas appear in the strangest places. Pay attention.” really resonated with me.

    I have noticed that when left to my own devices I can become a workaholic. The problem with this is that when I overwork I lose all my creativity, and my creativity is critical to my work.

    Therefore, for me to work better I must step away from my work and expose myself to new experiences and opportunities. In doing this, my creativity is stimulated which leads to high quality work.

    Fascinating how it works that way.

    • Scott says:

      It’s funny you mention that. I’m off on an annual backpacking trip with my buddies tomorrow – to clear the head and think big about what’s next. Can’t beat it!

  6. Bastian says:

    I really enjoyed your list until I reached number 9.

    Not being able to sit still might be the most dangerous thing in all of society. Because sitting still and being at peace at the same time is the very core of being alive.

    Feeling the need to do or achieve something is mostly just evidence for an overactive mind and a lack of peace and relaxation.

    • Gwinkler says:

      I agree with Bastian’s comment. We could all pause more and truly “be” rather than be constantly doing and striving. I think 9 might read “take time to sit still.” Pausing and sitting still can help us reach insights that lead to tremendous creations.

      Otherwise, great list and reminders.

      • Scott says:

        Absolutely agree with both of you. By sitting still I meant not making progress on what matters to you. In fact physically sitting still might be exactly what we need to experience that progress. My 10 minutes of silence in the morning is sacred and I aspire to spend much more time that way. That too is progress. Nice reminder guys!

  7. C.C. Chapman says:

    Awesome list. I certainly can relate to these feelings and appreciate you pulling them all together.

    Now I must go and create something. :)

  8. Sharkman says:

    Scott, absolutely some of your best work. This is really something. You might want to consider making it a core piece of your website. Happy adventures.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks so much – funny how that can happen with one of my shortest pieces. Maybe that’s telling me something… I am thinking of creating it into a nice piece of art/design. We’ll see. Thanks!

      • Polina says:

        Hey Scott,

        Funny that you mention that, but I have already started putting it into a desktop wallpaper design or poster.
        What do you prefer? I can help.

        • Scott says:

          Very cool. I was thinking a desktop wallpaper like design that could maybe be printed into a poster. Not sure. Would love to see what you put together Polina!

  9. Annie Andre says:

    Scott,
    This is what i needed this week. I go through these phases of self doubt and it’s hard to get out of that funk.

    I’m printing this post out and taping it on the wall next to my computer to get me out of my future funks.. and inspire me to more greatness.

    • Scott says:

      I love that you all are printing it out. I just asked my designer to cerate a really sharp looking version of it so it can be a little more design and visually appealing to post up. Thanks for the idea!

  10. Ritu says:

    I *could* spend some time coming up with something witty to say, but all I will say is F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.

    That should cover it;)

  11. Paul says:

    Scott,

    I’m in the process of creating something from inspiration right now, and just last night was feeling some feelings of discouragement. I was moving past them anyway, but I loved this post, and it couldn’t have been more perfect timing. Thank you so much, I’m really excited to see my inspiration turn into reality soon!

    Take care,
    Paul

  12. Love this! Just shared this on the Kidzmet Facebook page this morning and then saw your link on Twitter. Our minds are on the same track!

  13. Oops – didn’t show the quote image. Here’s the quote:

    “No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but ALL should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
    ~Ansel Adams

  14. kirri says:

    Your words never fail to inspire and motivate Scott :)
    I’ve just created my first online course….it was both harder and easier than I anticipated, if that makes sense. Best thing is, that just working on it makes me effervesce!

    As I have mentioned before – your blog was one of my first ‘mind training posses’ and I’ll always be grateful for your work x

    • Scott says:

      Wow Kirri! I’m super excited for you and can’t wait to see what you’ve put together. Congrats on the huge progress! How good does it feel to have something live?? :)

  15. Megan says:

    Inspiring stuff! I think it’s so true that creativity is the medium for expressing our souls, something everyone needs to do to feel alive. Therefore everyone has creative potential, but I think this can be expressed in different ways, I guess its just finding your outlet.

    Being surrounded by passionate/like- minded people is definately one of the most important factors for constantly feeling fired-up. It would be great if there was a space for passionate people with similar interests to collaborate together- any ideas? Two minds are better than one as they say!

    • Scott says:

      Could not agree more Megan! I’ve given a lot of thought lately to how we can bring more passionate minds together, especially as I build out the How to Connect with Anyone course. I’m all ears on ideas. Maybe some fun LYL meetups could be a start. I like how you’re thinking!

  16. Tia says:

    THANK YOU, so much for this very inspirational post. This is exactly what I need today. The only part I’m kind of iffy on is the not sitting still part. I really would like to practice meditation a little more. That said, this is just a wonderful article. I am going to print it out and tape it up somewhere so that I can be reminded of these things on a daily basis.

    • Scott says:

      Ha ha. Agreed Tia. I’m actually going to a meditation course tomorrow night. By sitting still I simply mean not making progress. Meditation can be insanely powerful progress. Hope that clarifies.

  17. Sandra says:

    Hi, Super Scott! (ta-ta-daaa!)

    I want to put this on my wall and read it every day! Heck I want to put everything you write on my wall and read it every day :)

    What a powerful action list to live by. Just like we are all artists, we are all doing something, all the time (even when we’re not, right?)

    So why not choose to do something from your manifesto? A creative person is a person who does creative things.

    (If this were in a book I’d be highlighting the whole thing. Just like I started highlighting what I love in your ebook and gave up after a couple of chapters cause I was highlighting the whole book lol)

    I guess we can also call it the “action list for the right-brainer folks” :)

    I love it. Thanks!

  18. Susan Gregg says:

    I love your manifesto. We are such amazing creatures and so often we just ‘get by’ instead of really letting our light shine.

    What a world this would be if more of us used our creativity and shared it.

    Thanks for the wonderful reminder,
    Susan

  19. Clare J Fitzgerald says:

    Hey Scott – have you been following me around or maybe inside my head. So many of the things you wrote in your post are things I’ve been thinking about or living.

    I especially liked the point on inspiration striking everywhere and at the oddest places. I now carry a pen around with me everywhere and stop and write ideas down no matter where I am. Sometimes I even write on my hand or a receipt so I don’t lose a great idea!

    I never thought about myself as an artist – I like that.

    Thanks for the inspiration

    Clare J Fitzgerald

  20. Joseph Lewis says:

    I think you lead by example Scott.

    You have to just start.

    Don’t fixate on failure or perfection. Get a version of your creation out there and then build from it. Whether that’s through experience or criticism – Just go for it.

    I never thought I could. And now I am.

    Keep inspiring.

  21. You nail it!

    Be a contributor, not a consumer.

    Here is a manifesto I made for my girls:

    http://www.richardhanleyjr.com/poster

  22. Fab says:

    Hi Scott,

    amazing article!! A Masterpiece! Congratulations!

    Anyway, here is a useful integration:

    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/05/09/9-attitudes-of-highly-creative-people/

    All the best!

    Fab, greetings from Italy.

  23. Elena says:

    Hi Scott! Congrats on great work and life!

    Liked all of these points, however I have to disagree with number 9…

    In order to really hear your soul’s passion, one must learn to be silent & still…

    In order to feed it, one must learn to take action…

    Love & Light

    el

  24. Alejandro says:

    Good stuff, but I challenge a couple principles:

    “Build things that only you are capable building.”

    If I spend my time looking for something no one else can build, I’ll probably waste my life looking.

    I very much rather build things that I know I can, despite the fact that a thousand other people could do it as well. I know plenty of capable people who can build the same software I’m building if they wanted to. That does not stop me from creating it myself.

    “Sitting still is the most dangerous action of all.”

    Strongly disagree. I have thousands of ways in which I can keep busy, either focused in building something or wasting my time with meaningless streams of information.

    However, sitting still once in a while, by myself or with great company, helps me reorganize myself and weed out the unnecessary in favor of the truly important. In my opinion, relaxing and enjoying the simplest things in life are crucial to actually appreciating your successes.

  25. Ryepez says:

    I translate and Adpat to Spanish
    “the Creators manifesto”
    http://yepez.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/manifiesto-creador/

  26. saltna says:

    Not being able to sit still might be the most dangerous thing in all of society. Because sitting still and being at peace at the same time is the very core of being alive.

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